05 de junio de 2012

June 2, 2012 (Final Exam Journal)

Location: Schmitz Park

Coordinates: 47.573705, -122.399049

Weather: It was a relatively sunny day with only about 30% cloud cover during my trip to this park. It was about 64 degrees Fahrenheit, but the shade of all the trees in the park itself made it seem like it was much colder out. The lighting was still fairly good for taking pictures despite the fact that the thick canopy of trees often blocked out the sky in the forest.

Habitat: Schmitz Park is essentially one huge, thick forest habitat. It is an excellent place for birds with plenty of trees to nest and hide out in and the mid-sized stream running next to the path makes it a great place for plants and animals that like wet environments such as frogs and skunk cabbage. It was also obvious that insects and bugs considered the area to be a great place to live as well since I was being eaten alive by mosquitoes the entire time I was in the forest and since I saw at least fifty different spittle bug nymphs in their plant sap cocoons on various kinds of plants (oddly enough all of them were flowering plants). This area is one of the thickest forests I've ever been to in Seattle with very few open patches in the canopy and very little light escaping through the tree tops in some places, especially in the area I was assigned. The canopy started to open up in places a little way into park in areas where the trees had fallen down. There were plenty of fallen trees in Schmitz Park forming large bridges over the stream and creating the aforementioned gaps in the canopy. They all acted as nurse logs and had smaller trees, mosses, and ferns growing out of them. They also served as home to small animals, as I once caught a glimpse of a small vole or mouse running out from a crevice in a fallen tree's roots. There was evidence of woodpeckers in this forest, as I encountered a dead tree that had broken in half, part of it had fallen off the path out of sight and half remained standing, that was covered in large and small holes. There were places where the bark had completely caved in and it was obvious that woodpeckers had been all over it. They often attack dead trees because the bark is soft and easy to peck through to get to insects that will live inside. Finally, as far as other birds go, I heard robins, crows, sparrows, wrens, and owls as I walked through the forest park. They all made their homes in that place well out of sight of the path as I could never get closer to the sounds they were making no matter how deep into the forest I went.

Vegetation: At the east end of the park where I started out, the forest was mainly deciduous with bigleaf maples as the dominant species, red alders as the second most common, and a few black cottonwoods here and there. As I went further into the forest, I began to encounter more and more coniferous trees that I could see off the path. These were mostly western red cedar, but there were a few Douglas firs and trees I thought might be lodgepole pines, but I'm not certain. I was only able to observe that their needles grew in small clumps and could not see any other important features as they all grew far from the path and I didn't have my contacts in or my glasses with me. All of the coniferous trees near the path, especially the western red cedars, had grown to enormous sizes and encountered one that I think would have required at least three or four people in order to wrap arms all the way around its trunk. They were amazing to behold and I have not seen anything quite like them in the other forested parks in Seattle that I've been to. The most diversity in plant species could be seen on the ground beneath the trees. There was a huge amount of plants growing on the ground around the path and off into the trees. In the area where I started out at the beginning of the eastern path, there were tons of stinging nettles in a huge patch around the stream. They covered the ground at least 20 feet into the forest and were all flowering, so they were certainly an interesting sight. The vast majority of them were covered in the plant sap "spittle" coverings of spittle bugs in at least one spot on their stalks, so they were definitely worth stopping and observing. I didn't actually know what these were at first and learned the hard way that they were stinging nettle. I stopped to touch the stalk and got a thumb full of stingers, which were much more painful than I imagined they would be. Though the stinging nettle was the most common and evenly distributed plant in this chunk of the forest on the left side of the path, there were also smaller plants like Berberis nervosa and some plants with broad, heart-shaped leaves and small, delicate white flowers among the nettles. On the opposite side of the path for at least 50 feet or more was a hillside of sorts made of dirt that was completely covered in western sword ferns and wood ferns. There was also Berberis nervosa on this side, but the ferns were far more dominant. Of all the plants I saw growing low to the ground in Schmitz Park, ferns, especially wood and lady ferns, were the most common and evenly distributed. They were everywhere on both sides of the path and didn't leave much room for anything else. Another common sight along the path further into the forest was salmonberry. These plants grew very tall, at least two feet above my head, and formed what I would call arches over the path. Some were still flowering, but the vast majority already had their berries, which were very red-orange and ripe looking. I was really tempted to taste a few, but I didn't want to eat any pesticides that might have been sprayed on them. Salmonberry was another of the most dominant and widely distributed of the plants growing under the trees. As I walked down the path, the stream went from being at least 20 feet away to directly next to the path. At this point, skunk cabbage became a very common sight. They grew in thick patches around the stream and even on the other side of the path opposite the stream. They were all very big, but they didn't have their large yellow flowers. My mom, who went with me on this adventure, noted that they all looked very "prehistoric", which I thought was a very accurate description. Also near the stream I saw a single patch of water parsley, which was very interesting as I didn't see it anywhere else in the forest and I had never seen it up to that point. So far, the salmonberry and the plants with the tiny white flowers I discussed earlier were the only flowering plants I saw along the path. Flowering plants, it seems, were not very dominant in Schmitz Park and were only present in sparse distributions. As I progressed down the path, I began to see plenty of Galium aparine and youth-on-age, which had smaller, maple shaped leaves and tiny, purple-green, fluted flowers. The Galium aparine grew to enormous sizes, bigger than I had ever seen it, I had had fun throwing it at my mom and getting it stuck on her shirt as we walked. The youth-on-age was growing very thickly along the path in the middle of the forest on the left side with the plant with the tiny white flowers, the Galium aparine, and the ferns. It was interesting that, as I walked, flowering plants became more and more prevalent, though the number of species of flowering plants still remained low. Finally, the last species I was able to identify on the forest floor was the northern giant horsetail, though these were not common and grew only in certain places along the path near the stream. Generally, the species diversity of the plants growing between the trees low to the ground was very high, though there were a few species more widely distributed and more dominant than others. There was not a whole lot of variation in the trees species, which seems to be a common trend in all the forests I've been to for this class.

General Comments: Schmitz Park was a very peaceful place to walk through. My cat just died, so it gave me some comfort to distract myself with all of the plants and the bird calls I heard. The only upsetting moment on this forest adventure was getting the finger full of stinging nettle. My favorite experience during this trip to the park was hearing the owls hooting back and forth throughout the forest. It was about seven o'clock, so it didn't surprise me that they were at least awake. At one point, I heard this odd hooting, gargling bird call somewhere off the path to my right. Suddenly, another bird made the same call back as soon as the first one finished. They then began to make some really odd squeaking noises at each other. I have absolutely no idea what was making that noise, as I couldn't get through the trees off the path and I had no way of knowing where the sound was coming from. Could it have been owls or was it something else entirely? What were they doing? Were they fighting? Mating? Whatever it was, it sounded extremely strange to me and I had never heard anything like it before in my life. It was so different from the calm, peaceful hooting I had heard echoing through the forest before that moment that it surprised me. I also wonder why I didn't see any of the owls I heard, especially since I had seen one in Ravenna just sitting above the path. Was that just pure luck or was that owl just particularly indifferent to humans? If in fact that owl was just indifferent, why were the owls in Schmitz Park so different? The other point of interest in my trip was the spittle bugs. Why were there so many of them? How were they sitting on the nettle plants without getting hurt? Why were they all on nettle plants in the first place? These were all the questions brought up during my visit to Schmitz and I'm glad I was assigned that place for my final. It was very different from many of the places I had explored on my own and it was certainly a learning experience. My final question had to do with the fallen trees. Why were so many of them downed? Did they just get old? Were they diseased? Did they die because of insects, fungi, or birds like sapsuckers? These questions will probably never be answered, but they certainly stretched my thinking.

Species List:
Bigleaf maple (Acer macrophyllum)
Western Red Cedar (Thuja plicata)
Douglas Fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii)
Red Alder (Alnus rubra)
Black Cottonwood (Populus trichocarpa)
American Robin (Turdus migratorius)
Owls of unknown species
Sparrows of unknown species
Wrens of unknown species
American crow (Corvus brachyrhynchos)
Salmonberry (Rubus spectabilis)
Western sword fern (Polystichum munitum)
Lady fern (Athyrium felix-femina)
Wood fern (Dryopteris sp.)
Dwarf Oregon grape (Berberis nervosa)
Unidentified plant with tiny white flowers
Creeping Buttercup (Ranunculus repens)
youth on age (Tolmiea menziesii)
Meadow spittlebug (Philaenus spumarius)
red clover (Trifolium pratense)
water parsley (Oenanthe sarmentosa)
white clover (Trifolium repens)
stinging nettle (Urtica dioica)
Unidentified plant with large, clustered purple flowers
Western Skunk Cabbage (Lysichiton americanus)
Northern Giant Horsetail (Equisetum telmateia braunii)
Galium aperine

Ingresado el 05 de junio de 2012 por tessaf tessaf | 9 observaciones | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

02 de junio de 2012

May 31, 2012

Location: The courtyard in front of Lewis Hall and the large grassy area between Parrington Hall and the law school building.

Lewis Hall: 47.6586666667, -122.3056666667
Grassy area: 47.658527, -122.31065

Habitat/Vegetation: For more information on the habitat and vegetation of these areas, please see the journal entry for April 18, 2012.

General Comments: The main reason for making this journal even though I've talked about this area before is because of the tree swallows. There were at least fifteen of them flying around the grassy area near the law building. This was amazing since I had never seen them outside of UBNA before. What brought them out to the campus proper? Were they looking for food? The pigeons caught my eye particularly because one of them was white and speckled, making it completely different from its plainer gray fellows. Why did this pigeon look different than the others? It wasn't a different species, so it's certainly odd.

Species List:
Tree Swallow (Tachycineta bicolor)
Rock Dove (Columba livia)

Ingresado el 02 de junio de 2012 por tessaf tessaf | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

May 29, 2012

Location: Union Bay Natural Area

Coordinates: 47.6556923, -122.2931387

Habitat/Vegetation: For more information on the habitat and vegetation of the Union Bay Natural Area, please see the journal entry for April 12, 2012 in my written journal.

General Comments: The pond slider was my favorite find from this day. It was sitting still in the middle of one of the ponds just off the path closest to the parking lot. I thought it was a rock at first, but we used binoculars and saw that it was indeed a large turtle. It had a large, smooth shell and a striped, dark body. The turtle didn't move at all in the entire time we were at the UBNA, which was interesting. I wish I could have waded out to it somehow. I really wanted to get closer and see what it would do. I had never seen a turtle in the wild before, so this is by far one of the coolest things I have ever seen this quarter. The cedar waxwing was sitting in a tree on the opposite side of the UBNA just off the path. We saw it as part of the birds group tour for class and I wanted to make note of it since I had never seen one before. It had a brown body with gray wings and black on its face and tail. I wish I could have gotten a picture, but my camera wasn't good enough.

Species List:
Pond Slider (Trachemys scripta)
Cedar Waxwing (Bombycilla cedrorum)

Ingresado el 02 de junio de 2012 por tessaf tessaf | 2 observaciones | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

May 24, 2012

Location: UW Medicinal Herb Garden and the sports field outside UBNA

Herb Garden - 47.6526666667, -122.3091666667
Sports field - 47.6592956158, -122.296001902

Weather: The day started out cloudy and rainy with almost 100% cloud cover but, gradually, the cloud cover reduced to about 30% and the temperature rose (which made me sad since I dressed for rain). The lighting was great by the time I got to the herb garden and there was little wind.

Habitat/Vegetation: The herb garden is full of native and non-native species and, since it is full of flowers this time of year and since the hive is near the greenhouses just across the street, it was no surprise to find the honey bee and its fellows buzzing around. There isn't a lot to say about the herb garden since it really isn't an area to go looking for observations typically. I just happened to catch this honey bee sitting still, so I wanted to take advantage of that. As for the sports field, it's just a barren stretch of grass with some small daisies growing here and there. There are trees flanking it's left side when one is standing in it facing the road, but that is the extent of the vegetation in that area. I only stopped because the swallows and starlings were too tempting to pass up.

General Comments: The barn swallows were the original reason I stopped in this field. I was leaving UBNA after natural history class and decided to cut through to get to the bus. I began to notice that, as I walked, the swallows would fly in circles around me and would even go as far as to get within inches of me before darting away again. I have no idea what they were doing, but it was really amazing to watch. I couldn't get a picture, but there were at least ten of them flying around me. It's almost as if they were trying to get me to leave, but I don't know. I saw a tree swallow among all the barn swallows, but I only managed to get a bad picture of one barn swallow as it swooped in front of me. The European starlings were hanging out in the field as well. There was an enormous flock of young starlings mixed with a few adults looking for food in the field. They made their harsh trilling noises incessantly the entire time they were there and I just had to stop and watch them for awhile since I had never seen such a large group before. I had also never seen a juvenile starling before this and I learned that they are brown with black beaks. I noticed a long juvenile making the trilling sound and was confused since I knew that only starlings made that noise, but also that starlings are usually black with orange beaks. I looked it up while I was watching the group and learned that I was looking at juveniles, which I thought was really amazing.

Species List:
Honey Bee (Apis mellifera)
Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica)
European Starling (Sturnus vulgaris)

Ingresado el 02 de junio de 2012 por tessaf tessaf | 3 observaciones | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

01 de junio de 2012

May 13, 2012

Location: Saltwater State Park (25621 Marine View Dr S, Des Moines, Washington).

Coordinates: 47.3724022229, -122.3245609739

Weather: It was a sunny day with about 20% cloud cover. The wind was blowing quite hard along the beach, but not anywhere else. The lighting was good and the water was surprisingly tolerable to walk in even though it was only 65 degrees Fahrenheit.

Habitat: The habitat of this area was very similar to the area I explored on April 28, 2012 since they are technically the same beach. The Saltwater State Park beach is just a mile or so walk down a stretch of beach from the beach I visited on April 28. The main difference is that the beach at Saltwater State Park is considerably less rocky and much more sandy than the other beach. There were areas that were heavily rocky, but they were present in a thin belt between two large sandy belts, one of which was close to the cliff face and the entrance to the park and the other of which was closest to the water, that extended down the length of the beach for as far as I could see. The sandy beach with the thin rock belt made it possible for new and interesting species to be present alongside species present in rocky beaches, so this area was a mix of habitats. The crabs, mussels, limpets, and other similar creatures were confined to the rocky patches along with all of the seaweed present on the beach. The sand fleas and geoducks, however, are creatures one will only find on sandy beaches. The aggregating anemones and sand dollars can be found both in rocky and sandy areas, as I observed on this excursion. I'm glad I was able to go to a beach with this kind of diversity in habitat and, by extension, species. I observed all kinds of interesting behaviors that I will detail in the general comments section.

Vegetation: The vegetation on the beach was limited to the seaweed species growing solely on rocks in the rocky belt. There were obviously no trees or other plants present. I was not able to identify most of the seaweed species, though it was clear there was one dominant species present in an even distribution and a few less dominant species present in only some patches here and there. Rockweed is an example of a less dominant species I saw.

General Comments: I learned a lot of new things thanks to this visit. Firstly, I had never even seen a geoduck before and, though I only got to see some geoduck siphons poking through the sand, it was still exciting. Geoducks suck in water and eat the detritus out of it, which is what they were doing when I happened upon them. When touched, the siphons would retract into the sand and would poke back out again after a minute or so. There were obviously three or four geoducks in one small area since each geoduck only has one siphon, so I wonder how deeply I would have had to dig in order to unearth them. Second, I was not aware that anemones would anchor themselves in the sand. I had only ever seen them on rocks up to that point but, that day, there were huge groups of them sitting in the sand at the edge of the rocky belt. They would squirt water up into the air from time to time and a couple of them even had their little tentacles out since those were partly submerged in small amounts of water. They seemed to be doing quite well even though many of them were exposed to the sun and not covered in water. Third, I saw at least a hundred live sand dollars at that beach, which was amazing. I had never even seen a live one until a few weeks before that and then I was suddenly finding huge groups of them. I wonder why there were so many of them out that day? Most were buried in the sand to avoid drying out, but a few were in the slow process of dying when I got to them. I tried moving the exposed ones into water and burying them a little since I felt bad for them, but I don't know if that actually helped. Finally, I observed a small sand flea hopping all by itself on the sand. I thought that was odd since I'd only ever seen them moving in large groups. I wonder why that one in particular was on its own? It seemed pretty weak so I wonder if something had attacked it or if it was dying for some other reason. I have no doubt that the gulls and crows that had been dotting the beach would have loved to eat that little guy.

Species List:
Unidentified, small, white crab (Possibly a baby)
Blue Mussel (Mytilus edulis)
Shield limpet (Collisella pelta)
Aggregating Anemone (Anthopleura elegantissima)
Geoducks (Panopea generosa)
Sand flea species (Megalorchestia corniculata)

Ingresado el 01 de junio de 2012 por tessaf tessaf | 6 observaciones | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

May 12, 2012

Location: Riparian Zone, NFD 6021 Rd, Sultan, Washington.

Coordinates: 47.835338, -121.658149

Weather: It was a very sunny day with little wind and no cloud cover. It was morning when we got to this area, so it was only about 52 degrees Fahrenheit. The lighting was great and it was an excellent day to be out looking around.

Habitat: Riparian means that it's an area by a river, so the ground was fairly sandy in the area near the river itself. The forest was thick, but the area receives less rainfall than areas up the road, so there wasn't much moss growing on the trees. The forest was mostly deciduous and it was a great place for birds with all the fish that must have been in the nearby river, the verdant plant life, and all of the insects. The forest contained both native and invasive species and there were plenty of insects out that day including various bees, beetles, and others.

Vegetation: The dominant tree species in the forest seemed to be black cottonwoods and bigleaf maples. These were evenly distributed in the area around the river in a thick forest on either side of the path. There were also a few hazelnut trees here and there, particularly beaked hazelnut, which had its catkins, and other species I could not identify, but these were less common than the cottonwoods and maples. Of the lower growing plants, trailing blackberry and salmonberry, both of which are native, were common along the path in the grassy areas between the trees. Herb Robert, or stinkybob, was one of the more common smaller plants and was growing alongside the blackberry, salmonberry, and grasses in the areas we walked through. There were a few notable invasive species present in the areas right next to the river and in certain other spots as well. Japanese knotweed was growing all over path next to the riverbank and appeared to be the only middling size plant in the area. Sweet vernal grass was another invasive species common on the trail sides. It was flowering and throwing up its white stigmas to catch pollen. That species is native to California but appeared to be growing quite well in the wet riparian zone. Sheep sorrel was the final invasive species of note that I saw. It caught my eye with its bright red flowers. This plant was growing in a large patch in a grassy area in the center of the parking lot at the riparian zone forest. I got to taste its leaves, as it is edible, and they were lemony. That plant is in the spinach family and has arrow shaped leaves. It was one of the most interesting plant species I saw that day even though it wasn't one of the more widely distributed ones like the knotweed was.

General Comments: I learned that the roots growing out of the trunks of the cottonwood trees in the forest indicated that the area would flood and soil levels would rise during certain times of the year. I thought it was interesting how adaptive the trees can be and how we can use them to predict conditions in the area. I also found it interesting how many invasive species of plant were in the area and were thriving. They weren't exactly making it so natives couldn't grow, but they were certainly more dominant than the natives in some spots. I also thought it was odd that the only bees we saw were the non-native European bumblebees. We never saw any native species of bumblebee in the area and I wonder why that is. Is it possible they just weren't out that day or were elsewhere or are they not present in that forest at all? I was also disappointed I didn't get to see any birds in that area. We saw a few cool beetles that day, my favorite was one we thought was a darkling beetle. It had orange spots on either side of its head that made it interesting to look at. We heard a hermit warbler, but it wouldn't come anywhere near us, so we had to give up on getting pictures. My very favorite find from this area was the white-lipped snail I found sitting in the dead leaves near where I found the sheep's sorrel. I love snails of all kinds and I actually think they're sort of cute and I particularly love their eyestalks. This one in particular had a yellow shell with a black stripe running its length. It was shy at first, but eventually poked its head out after I let it sit still on my hand for a few minutes.

Location: Index Forest

Coordinates: 47.8229927179, -121.518533528

Weather: It was still sunny when we moved on to this next forest. There was still almost no wind or cloud cover and the lighting was about the same as it had been earlier. At that time, it was about 55 degrees Fahrenheit since it was still fairly early in the morning.

Habitat: This area gets much more rainfall than the riparian zone, which caused plenty of moss growth on the trees, plants like licorice ferns on the trees, and a thick growth of plants on the forest floor. This area has an even mixture of deciduous and coniferous trees and plenty of ferns of all kinds growing on the forest floor. It is an excellent habitat for fungi, insects, and smaller mammals like mice and voles, though we never actually saw any of those. Butterflies in particular seemed to enjoy the area as we saw a lot of those and we even saw a huge black beetle in the dead leaves on the forest floor as well as a giant yellow-spotted millipede, which I had never seen before. This forest had a lot of plants that grow on other plants because of the heavy rainfall and the trees were all covered in other smaller species of plant and fungi. There was an even distribution of trees and low growing plants. There were no clearings of any kind in the forest and the growth was dense everywhere we went. Understory growth was fostered by tree gaps allowing in light and rainfall. The ground was covered in dead leaves and other low growing plants, the perfect place for small insects and animals to hide.

Vegetation: The trees in the forest were mainly bigleaf maples and western red cedars. These were evenly distributed on either side of the road at the Index area. I could not identify any other species of tree in that place. There were plenty of fringe cup, thimbleberry, salmonberry, Pacific Bleeding Heart and blackberry plants on the sides of the path. Those were more common outside the actual forest. The forest floor was dominated by various fern species including Dyopteris expansa, a type of wood fern, lady ferns, and sword ferns. False lily of the valley and stinging nettle were some other common species on the ground. There were lots of dead trees covered in moss species, fungi, licorice ferns, and other plants like the Hooker's fairy bells. The live trees were also covered in these species and this was a common sight throughout the forest. The fungi we saw in that area were Polyporus badius (the Polyporus refers to this fungus' many pores all over its surface) and artist's conch, both of which I had never seen before. I particularly enjoyed the artist's conch because of the fact that one can etch things into the white side by simply touching it and that it will last forever. That fungus makes a new pore layer every year and produces rings like a tree, so one can tell how old it is. They thyme-leaved speedwell was the most interesting flowering plant I saw that day. It caught my eye because it had beautiful tiny flowers and was only growing in one spot near the road. The most diversity of species was present in the growth on the forest floor and in the many mosses growing on the trees themselves. Many of the species I saw that day were native and none of them were planted there.

General Comments: My very favorite observations from this area were the little critters we found in the dead leaves on the forest floor. The yellow-spotted millipede was extremely odd looking with its pure black and yellow spots just over its many legs. It was one of the largest millipedes I have ever seen and I was fascinated by the way it moved. I wanted to pick it up, but I was pretty sure it would bite me, so I left it alone. There were at least two of them in the same area, both crawling over dead logs. I also saw a slimy black slug, which I didn't get a picture of, and an empty black snail shell, both of which were also curious finds. I wonder why the snail shell was empty. What happened to the snail? Did it just get old and die or did it get eaten by something?

Location: Money Creek Campground

Coordinates: 47.729146, -121.409709

Weather: The sky was still clear with no clouds. There was little wind and the temperature had risen to 61 degrees Fahrenheit by that time.

Habitat: Money Creek was another forested area with similar tree and understory species distribution to the Index forest previously described. There was a river running by one part of the area with a sandy bank that contained some interesting insect species, but other than that it was almost exactly the same as the Index forest as it wasn't that far up the road from it.

Vegetation: The dominant tree species were, like the Index forest, bigleaf maples and western red cedars. It had an even distribution of deciduous and coniferous trees and a similar understory to the Index forest in that it was covered in ferns and other plants like Pacific trillium and false lily of the valley. The Pacific trillium was the most interesting flowering plant we saw because of its large leaves and striking purple flower with slim petals. The only thing unique to this area was that there were Doug fir and and cedar seedlings growing in some areas, which were not common in any of the areas we had visited before that. The fungi we found in the area were the most unusual things I saw. There were a bunch of white rot species growing on a fallen log alongside the path. The Mycena haematopus was my favorite fungus on that log because it was so interesting that it leaked red "blood" when the cap was pulled off. The Poison Hemlock was the only other cool plant I got to see in that area because I had never seen it before. It's interesting to think of how many people and animals have probably died from eating it thinking it was just a wild carrot.

General Comments: I really enjoyed seeing the huge, dead stonefly by the river. It was sitting on a rock and it was probably the largest insect I have ever seen. I wish it had been alive so I could have watched it for awhile. We also saw a mayfly larvae, which was also sitting on a rock near the river. It is interesting to think that these insects spend a lot of their lives in the water when one generally thinks of insects as living on land. The only real difference between this area and the Index forest was in the types of species of plant on the forest floor. We didn't see trillium at Index and a few others that I could not identify. It is interesting that those areas are so similar to each other in terms of diversity of species and distribution of species.

Location: Picnic area on the side of the road

Coordinates: 47.676228, -120.732789

Weather: The sky was still clear and there was still no wind. The temperature had risen to about 66 degrees Fahrenheit by that time.

Habitat: We only stopped here for a little while to eat lunch, so I didn't get to thoroughly explore the area. It was a small picnic area next to a large river with some forest nearby. The forest was largely made up of coniferous trees, though there were some deciduous. This was an area excellent for the growth of lichens, so that will be the focus of this part of my journal.

Vegetation: The dominant tree species was western red cedar with a few other types of coniferous trees. There were plenty of lichens growing all over the trees in this area. They came in all sorts of types and colors from neon green foliose lichens to white crustose lichens. The two in particular I got were Candelaria concolor and wolf lichen, both of which were neon green. The wolf lichen had a special chemical in it called vulpinic acid that gave it the unique color. That chemical is somewhat poisonous to animals, so they avoid eating the lichen. The wolf lichen was more foliose while the Candelaria was more crustose. They were both present on the same trees, often growing side by side. The only other bit of interesting vegetation was the yarrow, which had not flowered yet. I was interested in its shape and was curious what the flowers would look like when they bloomed. I didn't get to look at any other plant species in the area, unfortunately, so I don't know much more about the dominant vegetation.

General Comments: I wish I had had a chance to look around this area more. I was curious about the species living near the river itself, as I did see some ants down on the bank. Where was their nest? Were they just looking for food by the river? I tried to follow them but I didn't get far before I lost their trail. I also wonder why the lichens were growing so well in that area. Was it because the area gets a lot of rain? Was it because it was relatively free of pollution out there in the country?

Location: Leavenworth

Coordinates: 47.589393016, -120.6752387994

Weather: It was extremely hot and humid out in Leavenworth. The temperature had risen to about 70 degrees Fahrenheit, but it felt hotter because the sun was beating down on us and there was little shade to cover us.

Habitat: This area was considerably more barren with smaller plants rather than large trees. The trees that were there were predominantly conifers and they were very sparse and not at all evenly distributed over the landscape. This was an excellent habitat for lizards and insects as they prefer hotter areas with less rain. The area was only partly forested as one got higher up the hill. It was a different sort of habitat than we had visited before with species unlike the ones in Seattle where it rains a lot. These species were much hardier and scrubby. They needed to be able to survive in the hot sun with less shade and water to protect them.

Vegetation: The tree species were predominantly ponderosa pines at the bottom of the hill where we started out. Up at the top of the hill, the trees were a mix of Douglas firs and some deciduous species like ocean spray and maples. The area at the bottom of the hill was largely covered in smaller shrubs and other flowering plants. Common sights were the common peony, saskatoon, mock orange, and others I could not identify. There were also plenty of different kinds of grass species covering the ground. These were all evenly distributed over the landscape but started to disappear as one went higher up the hill. At the top of the hill, there were rose bushes, chocolate lilies, Indian paintbrushes, and other flowering species. This was not an area to go looking for ferns as there were none present as far as I could tell. The plants I saw were all either low growing flowering species or taller coniferous and deciduous trees (conifers were more common). This area had a great example of trees that self prune in order to avoid the ground fires that are common in a dry area like that one. Doug firs cannot self prune, and so they are much more likely to catch on fire and fall down. Fires maintain ponderosa pine forests because they can handle the heat when Douglas firs cannot. Douglas firs will flourish in areas that do not experience forest fires often.

General Comments: The most interesting creature we saw in this area was the western fence lizard. There were a few them hiding out in the shade the large rocks provided and we were able to catch them to look at them. They were gray except for a striking blue on their bellies. This serves the purpose of attracting mates without letting predators find them easily. We even found a young fence lizard and observed that it also had the blue even though it wasn't yet an adult. I learned that lizards like that one can deal with Lyme disease from the ticks that bite them and are not bothered by them at all. The ones we found all had ticks in their necks and they seemed to be doing just fine all the same. Another interesting find was the snakefly, a couple of which were hanging out on the mock orange plants. I wonder why they liked the mock orange so much? In general, this area was a great place for seeing new species that I would not encounter in Seattle. It was a good learning experience and I saw a lot of things I had only ever read about or seen online.

Species List:
Beaked Hazelnut
Herb robert (Geranium robertianum)
Japanese knotweed (Fallopia japonica)
sweet vernal grass (Anthoxanthum odoratum)
Sheep Sorrel
White-lipped Snail (Cepaea hortensis)
Maianthemum dilatatum
Dryopteris expansa
Hooker's fairybells (Disporum hookeri)
Yellow-spotted Millipede (Harpaphe haydeniana)
Pacific bleeding heart (Dicentra formosa)
Polyporus badius
Trillium ovatum
Oyster Mushroom (Pleurotus ostreatus)
Common Ink Cap (Coprinopsis atramentaria)
Mycena haematopus
Poison Hemlock (Conium maculatum)
Candelaria concolor
Thyme-leaved Speedwell (Veronica serpyllifolia)
Common Yarrow (Achillea millefolium)
Wolf Lichen (Letharia vulpina)
common peony (Paeonia officinalis)
Ponderosa Pine
Saskatoon (Amelanchier alnifolia)
Western Fence Lizard (Sceloporus occidentalis)
sara orangetip (Anthocharis sara)
Lewis's mock-orange (Philadelphus lewisii)
Indian paintbrush (Castilleja coccinea)
checker lily (Fritillaria affinis)

Ingresado el 01 de junio de 2012 por tessaf tessaf | 29 observaciones | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

20 de mayo de 2012

May 9, 2012

Location: The finch, heron, and horsetail were all from the UW Seattle campus. The Northern Flicker and the Pileated Woodpecker were both found at the Washington Park Arboretum.

Route: The purple finches were flitting around near the Physics and Astronomy building, but I've seen them all over campus, so there is no one route to follow where one will see them every time. The heron baby was located in the heron rookery near the chemistry buildings, which can be reached by heading down the path from the fountain towards the copse of trees. The field horsetail was located beneath a tree in the UW medicinal herb garden that can be reached by merely exiting the copse from the other side.

Weather: The weather that day was bright and sunny for most of the day. It was about 65 degrees Fahrenheit all day and there was no cloud cover until around seven o'clock in the evening. There was a slight breeze and the lighting was excellent for taking pictures.

Habitat: The habitat of the areas I found the finch, heron, and horsetail in has been outlined in many of my past journals. As for the Washington Park Arboretum, the areas I visited were nearly entirely forest habitats. There were a few ponds scattered here and there where waterfowl could be found, but that was only difference in habitat I saw. The area is very neat and trimmed. Many of the plant species were clearly put there by humans, as a lot of them were not native to the state. In terms of animals, birds were the only common sight in the forest. The Northern Flicker and the Pileated Woodpecker were the most notable sightings, as the rest were common Mallards and Gadwalls in the ponds and Song Sparrows in woods hopping along the ground looking for food. There were also crows and hummingbirds throughout the entire area as well as some other birds calling out from the tree tops that I could not identify. I encountered squirrels twice in my entire visit (that was the reason I went in the first place, as it was for my class project), but they were both extremely skittish and would not let me get within ten feet of them before running up a tree. The one squirrel I did get close to was up in a small Japanese maple tree and was notable because it had enormous testicles, something I needed to observe for the aforementioned project. I got to see it mark its territory in the tree (or maybe it was just relieving itself, I'm not really sure). In any case, these were the only animals I witnessed that day, and the two birds I documented on iNaturalist were the most important. I saw the Northern Flicker first. I was looking for food in the grass next to the edge of the Arboretum. I thought it was a female Mallard at first by its coloration, but then I saw that it was much smaller and was clearly something else entirely. It flew into a large Douglas fir before I could get closer and observe its behavior a little longer, however. The Pileated Woodpecker came as I was leaving the Arboretum. I glimpsed it flying from across a clearing from one conifer to another just off the path. I then observed it for awhile as it climbed up and down the trunk of the conifer it was in looking for a spot to peck at. It was much larger than I expected and I was captivated by its striking red crown. There was a "beach" type area on the other side of the Arboretum that I did not explore that day, as I did not expect to find anything, so that's pretty much it for the habitat at that area. It is, essentially, one big forest where different plant species from all over the world are shown off to visitors.

Vegetation: The forest at the Arboretum is primarily deciduous, though there is a smattering of conifers across the area. All the major trees are at least 30 to 40 feet tall and made excellent places for the birds and squirrels to hide. The ground was covered with an even distribution of things like western sword fern, ivy, and flowering plants. It is extremely important to note that just about everything here is planted, which is obvious from the fact that almost none of it beyond the large trees is native. The large trees are mostly bigleaf maple, Douglas firs, and western red cedars. The smaller trees and the shrubs are almost all non-natives and all had tags on them denoting species, so it seemed like cheating to take pictures of them and put them on iNaturalist. This is why I only have two observations from that day. The ponds had only two main aquatic plant species in them: algae and lily pads. They were surrounded only by grass and more small shrubs. The flowering plants largely consisted of brightly colored azaleas of all kinds that were clearly put there for their aesthetic value. They were on one side of the path for nearly the entire length of my journey through the Arboretum and it was clear they were very popular with the bumble bees.

General Comments: I don't really have much to say about the observations made earlier this day. I've talked about the UW many times and I want to branch out beyond it in my journal entries. I've decided that, from now on, I'm only going to write journals about species I see at UW if it is from a class visit or if I see something really unusual in a place I haven't really talked about before (which will be hard because I've talked about most places at the UW in past entries). The Arboretum is certainly not a place to look for native species. While there were a few of them among the planted shrubs and smaller trees, many more of those were non-natives put there for both aesthetic value and to educated people on plants of the world. It is a good place for birds, however, as they love the tall trees and ponds. I got to see two species I had never seen before, so I'm happy with how the trip went. I went looking for squirrels originally and I did get to see how their behavior at a more wild place like the arboretum differed from squirrel behavior at the UW. I wonder why they are so much more skittish when they still encounter plenty of people in their habitat and still take food from them. I also wonder what other mammals live at the Arboretum, because, if they are there, I didn't see them. I'm sure raccoons, opossums, and other smaller mammals make their homes there, but I doubt larger things like deer do. I am sure that, if I were to go there at night, I would see some interesting things.

Species List:
Purple Fince (Carpodacus purpureus)
Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias)
Field Horsetail (Equisetum arvense)
Northern Flicker (Colaptes auratus)
Pileated Woodpecker (Drycopus pileatus)

Ingresado el 20 de mayo de 2012 por tessaf tessaf | 5 observaciones | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

13 de mayo de 2012

April 28, 2012

Location: 22001–22045 Cliff Ave S, Des Moines, Washington. This is a small beach area near my house that happens to be next to the boat docks on Puget Sound.

Coordinates: 47.4032954, -122.3299308

Weather: It was a very sunny day, but there was about 40% cloud cover at times. There was very little wind blowing that day and it was about 59 degrees Fahrenheit. The lighting was very good as the sun was bright all day and rarely went behind the clouds.

Habitat: This is my first time during this project exploring an intertidal zone habitat. I found many species here I had never seen before and species I had seen previously on beach forays. I learned about a lot of them by taking the marine biology class at the UW in fall quarter, so I had little trouble making identifications. This was not a sandy beach by any means. The ground was covered in large rocks and deep tide pools. When the tide is in, this beach is completely submerged underwater, so I was lucky to catch it at low tide when I could explore that day. The marine life was concentrated in and around these tide pools, as the aquatic species needed to keep to them to avoid drying out and the birds I spotted were circling them looking for a meal. The only aquatic creatures not living in the tide pools were the barnacles and mussels, which don't need to be covered in water at all times. The mussels and barnacles absolutely coated the rocks on the ground and it was nearly impossible to walk without stepping on them. The California mussels were present in the greatest and most even concentrations all over these rocks. The tide pools were where most of the interesting species were located. My most exciting find from the tide pools was the sand dollar, as I had never seen one alive before. I had only ever found them dried up and picked clean on the beach. These were living in the deeper tide pools and were all covered in a fine layer of black tentacles that they use to catch food. They were still rough to the touch, but the tentacles suckered on to my fingers. I also got to witness acorn barnacles feeding in the tide pools. When acorn barnacles feed, they open up and send out small "cirri" or little tendrils that they use to filter out detritus from the water. I watched them swishing their cirri back and forth through the water, though they closed back up into their impermeable shells when I tried to touch them. The barnacles living on the rocks out of the water, obviously, remained closed and safe from the sun. Tiny hermit crabs of the species Pagurus granosimanus skittered through tide pools alongside the sand dollars. They inhabited shells of tiny sea snails and were identifiable by the small dots covering their bodies when looked at closely. These species I outlined above were all the most common at this beach. Some other interesting ones, like the shrimp and the two mid-sized shore crabs, showed up once, but I never saw another of their kind that day. There were plenty of smaller crabs hiding under rocks, but I could not get them to species and I did not want to disturb them like all of the little kids were doing (I watched one little brat drop a huge rock on top of a group of them. Needless to say, I yelled at him and got yelled at in turn by his mother.). Finally, the only non-aquatic creatures I found that day were birds. There were plenty of glaucous-winged gulls looking around for food and I happened upon the group of house sparrows near the edge of the dock. The caspian tern was a surprising find, as I had never seen one before. I watched it dive for food a few times and as it got chased off by an angry gull. There was a large group of birds floating in the Sound at a distance, but I could not see them clearly to get an identification.

Vegetation: Because it was a beach, there were no trees, shrubs, or common terrestrial plants growing in the area I searched, though there were in the park area next to it (I didn't look around that place that day). The only vegetation present was different species of seaweed. I found two in particular that were extremely common up and down the beach: rockweed and Porphyra umbilicalis. The rockweed was found growing higher up on the beach where the rocks were larger. It had air pockets on the ends of it and was extremely slimy. The most dominant species of seaweed was the Porphyra umbilicalis. It was a brown, crumpled seaweed that did not grow in patches, but solitary. This species was all over the beach and in the tide pools. There were other species of seaweed present that were slightly less common than the first two I mentioned, but I could not identify them.

General Comments: I wish I had devoted more time to exploring beaches like this one in the past. It was exciting to see the sand dollar in its living form and to see all of the little crabs and barnacles feeding. I love going to the ocean, as I used to surf, and I hope to visit again for this project in the future. I came up with many questions after my visit to the beach. Why haven't I ever seen sand dollars alive before this? Why was the caspian tern the only one of its kind present that day? Why were the house sparrows down by the beach that day? Why were there no starfish present? Was the lack of starfish responsible for the huge populations of barnacles and mussels? I hope to answer these questions with another visit to the beach, though I don't know if I'll have time for it in these last two weeks of the quarter.

Species List:
Sand dollar (Dendraster excentricus)
Acorn barnacle (Semibalanus balanoides)
Purple shore crab (Hemigrapsus nudus)
Yellow shore crab (Hemigrapsus oregonensis)
Rockweed (Fucus distichus)
California mussel (Mytilus californianus)
House sparrow (Passer domesticus)
Glaucous-winged gull (Larus glaucescens)
Porphyra umbilicalis
Pagurus granosimanus
Heptacarpus carinatus
Caspian tern (Sterna caspia)
Various smaller crab species
Various unidentifiable seaweed species

Ingresado el 13 de mayo de 2012 por tessaf tessaf | 12 observaciones | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

01 de mayo de 2012

April 27, 2012

Location: A small grassy area outside Hansee Hall.

Coordinates: 47.660909, -122.307673

Weather: It was a bright, sunny day out with about 15-20% cloud cover. Though it was sunny, the temperature was only about 55 degrees Fahrenheit and the wind was blowing fairly hard, making it too cold for me to look for more observations. The lighting was excellent.

Habitat/Vegetation: For more information on the habitat and vegetation of this area, please see the journal for March 27, 2012 here on iNaturalist.

General Comments: I found this common earthworm being attacked by a large crow and my approach happened to scare the bird off. The worm was still very much alive and kept trying to slither away from me and into the dirt. Its back end appeared to have been ripped open by the crow and a clear liquid was oozing out. I wanted to get more pictures of worms and insects, so I'm happy I had this chance. I hardly ever see earthworms, surprisingly, so this was pure luck for me.

Species List:
Common earthworm (Lumbricus terrestris)

Ingresado el 01 de mayo de 2012 por tessaf tessaf | 1 observación | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

April 26, 2012

Location: Union Bay Natural Area

Coordinates: 47.6564218, -122.2927934

Weather: The sky on this visit to UBNA was overcast and the sun had only been shining early that morning. The wind was hardly blowing and the temperature was about 55 degrees Fahrenheit. It began drizzling at around 7.30pm and did not stop even after I left at 8.00. The lighting was good despite the clouds.

Habitat/Vegetation: For more information on the habitat and vegetation of the UBNA, please see the journal entry for April 12, 2012 in my written journal.

General Comments: This was not a very fruitful day for gathering observations, unfortunately. I think I've finally exhausted the UBNA of plants I can easily identify. I found one maple that I was unable to properly identify and some salal that was flowering, which I already had from Pack Forest (I wanted an example of salal that is in bloom). The only good find from this day was the black-capped chickadee. I had been having trouble getting a good enough picture of this kind of bird because they are so fast hopping from branch to branch. This one sat still long enough for me to get usable, albeit blurry, picture where one can see its defining black cap. The only other unusual thing I saw that day was a small spider blending in with the stalk of prairie grass on which its web was partially strung. It was clearly doing so to both avoid predators and lure in its prey and I thought this was a very interesting phenomenon to be able to observe. I watched it for awhile, but I was not able to get a picture of it performing this bit of camouflage, unfortunately. I think I'll probably look for new places to go from now on. I want to see areas that aren't wetlands for my final observations just to make things a little different.

Species List:
Salal (Gaultheria shallon)
Black-capped Chickadee (Parus atricapillus)
Unknown maple with small, green leaves and little flowers.

Ingresado el 01 de mayo de 2012 por tessaf tessaf | 3 observaciones | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario